Quadrant Theory: Where Do You Spend Your Time?

If you have ever looked into time management, you have probably stumbled across the quadrant theory. The theory goes something like this.

Everything you can spend your time on can be classified as Important or Not Important. It can also be classified as Urgent or Not Urgent. Using these two distinctions, you can create four areas that you spend your time. This is usually illustrated with a box divided into four quadrants, which is where the theory gets its name.

Q1: Urgent and Important

If it is Urgent meaning there are consequences for not getting it done very soon, it often gets taken care of pretty quickly. If you don’t take care of problems in this quadrant you will start running into major problems in your life. Things like paying rent on time, turning in work assignments on time.

You absolutely need to take care of everything that falls into this category.

Q3: Urgent and Not Important

A lot of things in this category get mistaken to be in Q1. Interruptions in your day that bring no values such as unexpected phone calls from people trying to sell you things you don’t need, being interrupted to be asked a question which should have been asked of somebody else, or meetings that are useless all fall into Q3. Often these kinds of activity are why top executives have administrative staff to gatekeep for them. They realize that this category can be delegated and is a waste of time.

Q4: Not Urgent and Not Important

This quadrant has a lot of our favorite activities in it. Watching TV, playing games, and other leisure activities that bring no real value. Escapism is the word that encompasses these things. There is a place for those activities in your life, for rest and relaxation, but it should be kept small.

A lot of other time wasters are in this category as well including spam email, a lot of social media posts, and busy work that we do to keep from doing the real work that needs to be done.

Remember, this stuff is not important and not urgent. Time in this quadrant should be kept to a minimum or creatively turned into something that falls into ….

Q2: Important and Not Urgent

This is where a lot of the value and progress in your life will come from. Things like planning, relationship building, building automated systems, exercise, meditation, journaling, working on that side project or business all fall into quadrant 2.

Most of these things are not urgent, but doing them can keep other things from becoming urgent and create tons of value in your life. If you are creative you can mix some of the Q4 leisure activities into your Q2 activities.

Because they are not urgent, it takes discipline to work on quadrant 2 activities. Make sure you set aside time everyday for quadrant 2 activities.

Don’t spend major time on minor things.

Keep getting wiser, stronger, and better.

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